West Virginia in the Civil War

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West Virginia in the Civil War

Some West Virginia state history for today The First Wheeling Convention called upon counties to elect representatives to a succeeding convention if Virginia voters approved the Ordinance of Secession on May 23, 1861. The Second Wheeling Convention met June 11-25, 1861, and again August 6-21. One hundred delegates representing 34 counties met in Wheeling, VA on June 11, 1861. Mostly western counties of Virginia, the composition was not entirely geographic. Delegates included representatives from the eastern cities of Alexandria and Fairfax. Also the eastern counties of Hardy, Hampshire and Jefferson counties. Though sentiment for creating a new state was strong, the convention instead adopted a Declaration of Rights of the People of Virginia which included a call for the reorganization of Virginia as a state loyal to the United States. Some delegates, such as John S. Carlile, were initially in favor of creating a new state during the First Wheeling Convention but amended their positions and agreed with those who maintained that immediately declaring a new state did not meet the requirements set forth in the U.S. Constitution. On June 19, 1861, the convention adopted an ordinance to reorganize Virginia as a loyal state, and on June 20, 1861, delegates elected Francis H. Pierpont as the governor of Virginia. Governor Pierpont called the legislature of the Reorganized Government into session on July 1, 1861. The Second Wheeling Convention adjourned on June 25, 1861, to reconvene on August 6. After the formation of the Reorganized Government of Virginia, some of the delegates believed that it was preferable to continue Virginia in its pre-war entirety rather than create a new state out of the western counties. But on August 20, after lengthy debate, the convention adopted an “Ordinance to Provide for the Formation of a New State out of a Portion of the Territory of this State”. A October 24, 1861 vote was set for a referendum. This ordinance provided that the voters would elect representatives to a constitutional convention (set for November 26, 1861) which would convene if the creation of a separate state was approved in the October 24 vote. -Cite: Bailey, Kenneth R. "Second Wheeling Convention." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 25 August 2015. Web. 11 June 2019- ... See MoreSee Less

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